US grocer Schnucks went on a new special mission through Italy as Midwest affirms itself as a primary destination for food lovers. The St. Louis-based family-owned grocery retailer filled its stores with hundreds of new authentic products from Italy as part of a three-week promotion ended March 14. Overall sales exceeded expectations by 8%, a spokesperson for the company said. Schnucks’s buyers traveled to Italy to pick new products and introduce them in the US, where the specialty market is worth more than 120 billion dollars in retail sales. And they did it during Tuttofood too. Also thanks to Italianfood.net.
The real ‘Taste of Italy’
The ‘Taste of Italy’ is our way of bringing customers delicious new Italian foods they may not think of every day, said Schnucks Center Store Director Chris Mittendorf. Our buyers have picked some wonderful products directly from Italy and are excited to bring them to our shoppers, the director said. The initiative was held in partnership with the Italian Trade Agency and involved brands like pasta maker De Cecco, condiments maker Orti di Calabria, olive oil brand Ranieri and organic pizza brand Monteli. This was an opportunity for smaller producers to land on the shelves of a US retailer with products that are still new to the market, said Leo Nucera, marketing manager of the consortium Agritalia, which brought 100 items (SKU) by 17 producers from 11 regions. Leading companies like coffee maker Lavazza and cookie specialist Matilde Vicenzi were happy with the results. This year there was a larger range of products, said Christian Saldi, director at Vicenzi USA, which also took part in a similar initiative last year. Schnucks selected “classical” products like ladyfingers (Savoiardi) and Amaretti cookies, as well as Grisbì and puff pastries. The company aims to become an international brand in the US market beyond the category of specialty brand, Saldi said. We believe that promotions of Italian products are very important because they give consumers the possibility of tasting different products at primary specialty retailers. This sometimes leads to a continuous listing in the main section of the store, which is what we hope to achieve with Schnucks, he said. “Taste of Italy” included in-store demonstrations, samplings, and recipes. In addition to communicating the event on social media, Schnucks published a consumer magazine with Gruppo Food with recipes and ideas. The group also held its annual sweepstakes contest with a grand prize of a six-day trip for two to Rome.